Shipowners, industry groups and charities call on the UN for the evacuation of 331 seafarers still trapped on vessels in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.
Thirty-two organisations and companies from across the shipping industry are urging the United Nations, to use its diplomatic influence, and address this matter urgently in order to evacuate all the remaining seafarers and ships.
In a joint letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Guterres the shipping community, including the International Chamber of Shipping, Bimco, Intercargo, Cyprus Shipping Chamber, InterManager, The Seafarers’ Charity, and other shipowning associations, companies, and seafarers charities, is asking the United Nations to help evacuate the 300+ seafarers still trapped in Ukraine ports.
“Our seafarers are the heart of our industry and cannot be forgotten. For 12 months now they have been caught up in a crisis far beyond their control. Simply doing their jobs cannot come at the expense of their lives,” said in a letter.
Shipping has been integral to carrying out the Black Sea Grain Initiative, with heroic crews sailing along to borders of the conflict zone to ensure the world continues to receive vital grain deliveries.
The signatories recognised the positive involvement of the United Nations in the Black Sea Grain, which allowed safe passage of critical grain and fertiliser shipments, from Ukraine to populations most in need, and curbed food prices from spiralling out of control.
However the industry bodies in an open letter to the UNSG António Guterres have emphasised the fact that this “cannot come at the expense of innocent seafarers’ lives and action must be taken now.”
“We recognise and celebrate the United Nations, and your leadership, for the Black Sea Grain Initiative that the UN successfully brokered with Türkiye between Ukraine and Russia. This has allowed safe passage of critical grain and fertiliser shipments from Ukraine to populations most in need, and curbed food prices from spiralling out of control. We are committed to supporting the continued success of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, however this cannot come at the expense of innocent seafarers’ lives. Action must be taken now.”
In the letter it was highlighted the fact that “without the seafarers, movement of the vital grain shipments out of Ukrainian ports would not have been possible.”
As is was said “While there are challenges to evacuating seafarers and their ships, it must nonetheless be a top priority. Otherwise, we risk the lives of our seafarers, and this is unacceptable.”